— Although the owner of the fine Mercedes illustrated on page 289 of the March issue has not been identified, a telex from Dr. Dennis Parsons, Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, tells us that the photograph was taken in Merton Street, Oxford, and shows the car being driven west along this street, perhaps to Morton, Corpus, Christchurch or Oriel Colleges, so one might perhaps assume the car was owned by a wealthy undergraduate or his parents. Dr. Parsons says the tower of Magdalen College and the wall of Merton College in the background remain unchanged today, even to the cobbled road, except for a lamp-post erected about 20 years ago. He adds that some of the “Brideshead” shots for the TV film were taken here, using a 1926 Humber tourer, the property of a Merton Don. Rising to the bait of old roadside signs still in existence, which we referred to recently, a reader photographed a fine one three ycars ago in Corporation Road, Leicester, reading: “Accumulators and Motor Car Starter Batteries Carefully Charged and Correctly Recharged Here”. He also suggests that I was wrong in saying the Mors tourer which appeared in more than one some of “Brideshead” was a sleeve-valve post-war model. I am inclined to think I was wrong and that it was an Edwardian poppet-valve model, perhaps the one owned before the war by BOC member Shakespeare. I have also been taken to task for saying that the Donald Campbell LSR “Bluebird” in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has a Metropolitan-Vickers Beryl engine whereas the record was taken to 403.10 m.p.h. in 1964 using a Bristol-Siddeley Protcus gas-turbine.
In view of the article on the 16-valve Buganis in last month’s MOTOR SPORT, it is nice to be able to record that a number of these cars are expected to appear in suitable events here very soon, including David Marsh’s Type 13 and David Sewell’s Brescia, and that Ettore Bugatti’s birthday was celebrated in Australia with a parade of Bugattis at Sandown racecourse, including two Type 13s, a Type 22 and a couple of Type 23s. We gleaned this from the duplicated magazine Brescia Bits published by David Sewell, really intended to help and interest owners of these cars but available to outsiders for a £2 sub. (GO, if overseas). Apply to David at Green Farm, Middleton-by-Youlgreave, Bakewell, Derbyshire.
We hear that Dudley Johns’ 196728/66 Mercedes went well en roum to the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy Contest, doing the journey from Malvern to Silverstone in 11/4 hours, climbing Sunrising Hill on the way in second gear.
Alec Ulmann, having seen the engine of his newly-acquired French-registered 1913 80 x 130 mm. overhead-camshaft-and-rockers Hispano-Suiza dismantled, has decided that he did W. O. Bentley an injustice in suggesting that he had cribbed this design for the 3-litre Bentley, because the Hispano crankshaft runs in ball bearings, whereas the Bentley was always a plain-bearing engine. Ulmann unearthed some rare Hispano-Suiza records after meeting Bernard Heurteux of Verviers at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last year, including an unpublished paper by Marc Birkigt — “Son Oeuvre”. Incidentally, Ulmann’s Hispano-Suiza has enormous No. 2 and No. 3 mail ball-races, with the central con.-rods side-by-side between these, and lesser ball-races for the other two main bearings. This form of construction leads him to think that he may have the engine which Birkigt intended to supercharge (not a T-head engine, as W. F. Bradley has written), and the one that may have been used for the racing Hispano-Suiza “Sardine”, which came to Brooklands, etc. (see MOTOR SPORT, March 1978).
A reader who has acquired an N-type MG Magnette, Reg. No. MG 3612, chassis No. N314, is seeking its ancestry, before scrapping the boy-racer 2-seater aluminium body now fitted and restoring the status quo. Although it is rota pre-war item, does anyone have any information about Louis Halasz who, bearing on the “Endurance Runs” article in the March issue, drove an American Motors Hornet round America in 1970, taking almost five months, for a claimed record? He may not be as celebrated as Cannonball Baker who started his transcontinental record runs with a Stutz Bearcat 1915 (San Diego to New York in 11 days, 7 hours, 15 minutes, or 13.9 m.p.h. for the 3,728.4 miles) but we would like to know. Another concerns some research a Cornish reader has been doing into a 1931 Gilford ‘bus, a low-height 56-seater with front-wheel-drive, air-suspension and a Junkers turbo-charged diesel engine, and although this is a commercial vehicle matter a would be nice if we could solve the questions raised by our correspondent, because the highest sources have failed to find the answer; our reader wants to know the position of ‘bus exhaust-pipe, presumably vertical as there was no beneath-floor clearance, and how the rear upper-deck emergency exit was contrived. Letters can be forwarded.
The current issue of the quarterly magazine Vintage Aircraft contains a fascinating article about the old Bournemouth Flying Club, from which one learns that the Caudron aeroplane owned by racing-driver Capt. G. E. T. Eyston, OBE, to which he referred in his book “Safety Last”, was bought by him from this Club in 1919 and that Eyston flew this war-surplus Caudron GB in the races that were part of the Club’s first opne meeting in April that year. G-EALV does not seem to have got its C-of-A until August, being registered to Eyston at Brooklands, and this was cancelled in September 1920, the Club then selling off these Caudrons for about a pound each! An exhibition of the photographic work of Mario Gabinio, held in London up to last month included urban panoramas taken in and around Turin, at least one of which included some rather American-looking Fiats, which part of a 22/90 Alfa Romeo in the foreground. — W.B.